A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 63 

this, they would progress in virtue beyond their expectations. The deeds of this man and graces done for him demand time.

131The following theme now concerns a vocation. But it has been proved that this religion, accepted by God, to which He calls people by means of a special sign, and which He first founded on perfect men as though on holy mountains, He adorned with most illustrious people as though with polished stones. Bishops, abbots, archdeacons, and established Masters of Theology entered the Order. So too did princes, nobles, and innumerable others who were noted for their dignity, their nobility, and their knowledge. They were the flower of nobility and learning. If an example is needed, we can omit all others and take Brother Alexander who is remembered to have been the greatest cleric or theologian in the world at that time.a There was also Lord John, a soldier valiant in arms, a king and an emperor. He became a brother when he was emperor, in order that the Lord might fulfill the prophesy in Francis: I will go before you and humble the great men of the earth.b

134Who could count the number of brothers of the Order, who were approved and celebrated Doctors of Theology? We should not be silent in our praise for Christ who exalted the humble and wonderfully saw to it that just as a soldier of great dignity and goodness was found in the Order of Minors, so too there was found a very great Master of Philosophy and Theology who was also a great preacher. He was Brother John de La Rochelle who was renowned for his reverence for God, for his knowledge, and for his discernment.c He possessed such talent that he added to the subtlety of his teachers and handed down the art and the excellent ways of preaching, and of lecturing in the Faculty of Theology. Both he and Brother Alexander were the authors of formal and useful writings.

138After him there came the venerable Father, Brother Odo Rigaldi, who was illustrious in birth but more so in character.d He was a Master of Theology, Archbishop of Rouen, and a most famous




Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1283

quod si sic facerent, supra spem in virtute proficerent. 130 Huius actus et gratiae in miraculis sibi factae tempus requirunt.

131Nune de vocatione propositum est. Sed accepta a Deo probatur esse Religio, ad quam ipse personas speciali vocat indicio et quam primo in viris perfectis tamquam in montibus sanctis fundavit, clarissimis deinde personis tamquam politis lapidibus decoravit. 132Intraverunt episcopi, abbates, archidiaconi et solemnes in theologia magistri; principes quoque ac proceres aliique innumeri dignitate, nobilitate et scientia conspicui; flos denique nobilitatis atque scientiae. 133Si exemplum quaeritur, omissis omnibus aliis, magister et frater Alexander maior mundi clericus sive theologus suo fuisse tempore memoratur, et miles in armis valentior dominus Iohannes, rex et imperator praedictus, qui de imperatore factus est frater Minor, ut impleat Dominus in Francisco illud propheticum: Ego ante te ibo et gloriosos terrae humiliabo.

134Fratres autem in Ordine probatissimos celebresque in theologia doctores quis numeret? 135Nec tacenda laus Christi humilia exaltantis, mirabiliter providentis, ut in Minorum Ordine maximus in dignitate ac probitate inveniretur miles, sic etiam maximus in theologia et philosophia magister 136et etiam maximus inventus, est praedicator, videlicet magister frater Iohannes de Rupella dictus, religiositate, scientia et discretione clarissimus tantique ingenii, ut propriorum magistrorum subtilitati adiiciens praedicationis et lectoriae in theologica Facultate artem et modos traderet exquisitos. 137Erant eius et dicti Alexandri solemnia et utilia valde scripta.

138Fuit enim post eum venerabilis pater frater Odo Rigaldi genere clarus, sed clarior moribus, magister in theologia, similiter deinde Rothomagensis ecclesiae archipraesul, famosissimus praedicator.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 63

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